Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is an associate professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South.

Recent Articles


Barack Obama gave a great, Father’s Day-themed speech yesterday. Parts of it were politically easy, such as his entreaties about parental responsibility; you could easily imagine some of the words coming from the pen of conservative culture warriors. But what was impressive is how Obama linked personal responsibility—a theme Bill “end of government as we know it” Clinton used to catapult himself nationally—directly and unapologetically to government responsibility, as in this key section: [O]ur young boys and girls see…when you are ignoring or mistreating your wife. They see when you are inconsiderate at home; or when you are distant; or when you are thinking only of yourself. And so it’s no surprise when we see that behavior in our schools or on our streets. That’s why we pass on the values of empathy and kindness to our children by living them. We need to show our kids that you’re not strong by putting other people down – you’re strong by lifting them up. That’s our responsibility...


National polls as charted here by Real Clear Politics show Barack Obama holding a consistent if small lead in head-to-head pairings against John McCain . In the 19 most current polls going back to the beginning of May, Obama was ahead in 18 and tied in the 19th. Going further back to the beginning of April he led in 29 polls, was tied in five, with McCain leading in just three. Four caveats, all but one of which merit caution for Democrats: It’s early. Mike Dukakis was crushing George H. W. Bush in the early summer of 1992 and we all know how that turned out. Though lately he does seem to be gaining some distance in the aftermath of his primary victory, Obama’s leads are often within the margin of error There may be a social desirability effect here in which respondents are telling pollsters they are voting for Obama when they ultimately will not. Finally, and this may work against McCain, these are head-to-head matchups that ignore the possibility of former Republican congressman-...


Holy smokes: Why is Barack Obama under-selling the notion of “ Bush’s third term” when he rightly can and should be selling it as a third “ Bush-Cheney term”?! Go read this post from Matt Corley at Think Progress for all the frightening details. --Tom Schaller


Oh, this video about President Bush's golf sacrifice for the troops is simply too precious not to send along. (Hat tip to my friend Oliver Griswold for alerting me to it. Warning : There are a coupla naughty words in there.) --Tom Schaller


I’m biased because I’ve known Tom Sheridan for a few years now and, by sheer coincidence, I happened to be having dinner with him, his partner (who is my real estate agent) and his cousin last night when this profile of him first posted on The Hill’s website. But there's no denying that the progressive lobbyist truly is one of the good guys. The Sheridan Group he founded and heads is one of the best white-hat firms in town. As Roxana Tiron points out, Sheridan represents Bono which, I’ll grant, is pretty damn cool. But Sheridan’s day-to-day political life is far less glamorous: Through Sheridan’s lobbying, Congress passed legislation to create specialized foster care programs and high incentives for foster parents willing to take [children born with AIDS]. It was considered the first piece of legislation ever to deal with AIDS. These are the tough, unappreciated fights. And although it’s a bit of a stretch in Tiron’s closing line to say “Sheridan always wins,” the Democrats' capture...